Going Places


A.R. Barton

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Themes and Colors
Fantasy vs. Reality Theme Icon
Family vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Class vs. Ambition Theme Icon
Limitations of Gender Roles Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Going Places, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Fantasy vs. Reality

In “Going Places,” teenaged Sophie is full of unrealistic dreams for her future. She talks of wanting to open a boutique or become an actress, and—most importantly—she tells her brother Geoff that she has met famous footballer Danny Casey and that the two have planned a date. While her brother and father are skeptical that she has met Danny Casey, and her best friend Jansie is constantly pulling her back to earth about her dreams…

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Family vs. Individuality

In “Going Places,” Sophie’s ambition and personality are continually at odds with her family’s expectations of her. While Sophie dreams of owning a boutique or becoming an actress, her family members mock and reject her goals, treating her without warmth, care, or understanding. Throughout the story, however, Sophie remains fixated on living the life she fantasizes about and does not cave to her family’s attempts to make her more like them. She nonetheless fails…

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Class vs. Ambition

Each of the characters in “Going Places” reacts differently to being poor: Sophie’s father seems to drink and be cruel, her mother seems resigned and depressed, and her little brother, Derek, is already old enough to roll his eyes at Sophie and tell her that money doesn’t grow on trees. Sophie, meanwhile, responds to her restrictive circumstances by imagining opening a boutique or becoming an actress. Though these ambitions help propel her through the…

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Limitations of Gender Roles

In “Going Places,” the men and women fit rigidly within gendered expectations. Sophie’s father is the family’s breadwinner, while her mother appears to be in charge of household duties. As for Sophie’s generation, her brother Geoff (a mechanic who loves football) is associated with traditionally masculine objects and pursuits, while her friend Jansie (a known gossip who is destined for a life making biscuits) is more traditionally feminine. Sophie is unique in displaying both…

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